From the Editor

Howard Prouty, Editor IOBA Standard

Less than three weeks after assuming the position of Editor, I am pleased to present the first issue of The Standard for 2013, and to rededicate it as the voice of IOBA. This is meant in a dual sense: as our “house organ,” The Standard serves to represent our organization’s values, goals and concerns; but more than that, it should also provide an outlet for individual IOBA members to share their experience and knowledge with both colleagues and interested readers.

Part of what made it possible to bring this issue together in such a short time was a significant change to our editorial structure and management. At the instigation of IOBA’s new President, Chris Volk, the Board of Directors has decided to transfer some of the technical/production responsibilities to the newly-created domain of a Managing Editor. Joyce Godsey, an experienced bookseller and the proprietor of (well known to many as a premier source for book repair supplies), has been engaged as our Managing Editor, and we’re very glad to have her on board.

Although I didn’t approach the assembling of this issue with any particular theme in mind, in looking over the contributions it seems that we have one anyway. There is a common thread that unites all the articles, one to which I think almost any IOBA member can relate: the sense of discovery, which is one of the constants of the bookselling experience. The longer pieces, by Greg Gibson and Chris Volk, relate their personal journeys: Greg’s somewhat quixotic passage from unpublished poet (with intermittent employment history) to experienced specialist bookseller, and Chris’s diversionary adventure as she unleashed her “inner collector” in pursuit of the books of a favorite author. Standing in contrast to Chris’s tale of her Internet-scouring quest, Tim Doyle’s tightly-focused account of how he solved a small biblio-mystery provides a perfect example of the kind of thing that can so easily fascinate or even obsess us….and that any one of us might find at any time, inside the cover of the very next book we handle. Finally, William Knox’s tale of establishing his thriving book business in Penang, Malaysia, provides a particularly interesting example of the diverse (and sometimes peculiar) ways that we have all come to bookselling.

For the time being I find myself planted in the Editor’s chair, but I don’t regard it as either a throne or a bully pulpit. I see myself rather as sitting at a very large table, with enough room for as many others as care to join me. It is, as I said above, both the organization’s voice and your voice as individuals — although truly, the two are inseparable. The IOBA is its members. Together, let’s make The Standard everything it can be and should be.

Howard Prouty
2261 West 21st Street
Los Angeles, California

The Standard: The Journal of the Independent Online Booksellers Association

Check out the Independent Online Booksellers Association Website

2 comments for “From the Editor

  1. March 3, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Good morning Howard Prouty. I woke up this fine book-selling morning here in Florida to your perky face and the faces of real book people, including newly elected Chris Volk (by e-mail, of curse). I marveled at the sort of good book advise that I will be looking forward to in the future with IOBA…

    Remarkable and encouraged by your mighty suggestions of advancing my career in books, etc. I find it stimulating…right word? how about book-boggling that IOBA has been there and MOI here too busy to take the time to observe it.

    I am being considered as a member, and Chris sent a note that I had inadvertly been placed on the chat list and wham…like in the comic stripes there I was in the middle of conversations from dealers all over…10 in all within 2 days and I rallied….so I know I’m going to enjoy this venture with IOBA. When I am relieved of my initial apprenticeship I can join in…so be it.

    I do write a few things for Sheppard’s Newsletter and it takes me 20 minutes of menueving the words into a short bio=sketch and 4 hours of editing, but Richard prints them, so I guess they pass his initial test of okay.

    Also Janaway Genealogy Publishers, (they have 3500 books on Genealogy or is it 20,000?) has published my compiled edition of the Mayflower Bibliography. If anyone knows how to get into Amazon or ABE they will find the full details on it and know it took me a bit of time to complete it. Now on to one on Salem…love my history!

    I am more than pleased to be associated with those people listed in Winter Standard and especially Chris’s idea of uniformity in description. There are 10 SISTER BOOKSELLERS (we all know and love) probably all owned, managed, or created to catch every buyer from all parts of the USA and they all have the same description on the same book in the same fashion as a factory. Like Barbaa Cartland’s 40-staff novel factory, she produced 750 Harlequins. You never know what you are buying and or what genre it might fall into. You’s takes your chances, as PopEye probably said and knock it off as ‘READING COPIES”. That is another word combo that needs to be addressed. Of course they are reading copies…Even the most collectible of books are reading copies,, but what fool would open it…Huh?

    It is my personal belief they are probably owned by one organization or book-stable like a herd of horses but you know something Howard, the books do arrive in time and so what else do I want, for a good reading copy?

    Richard at Sheppards’s is doing a little diddy on most hated words or statements, in the business and ‘Reading Copies’ did come up.

    So thank you first for sending your Winter Issue, it was read…what more does a writer or blog need?.

    Kind regards from St. Augustine, Florida and Ancient City Booksellers. I am known here as St. Augustine’s Lady Book Detective and I get this by work, finding books listed some where in the world…If it is listed, I will find it and 47 sales in Foreign countries, even Malaya, is my proof.

    Bon Summers

  2. March 5, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Very well done Howard. Looking forward to seeing this prosper.

Comments are closed.